Rep. Pence's "Fundamental Disconnect" With The American People

March 09, 2011 11:59 am ET — Matt Finkelstein

Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) loves to talk about being a regular guy from eastern Indiana, but his identification with plain folks only goes so far.

This morning on Fox News, Pence blasted Senate Democrats for being "out of touch" with the priorities of the "overwhelming majority of Americans," who he incorrectly claimed support the GOP's massive job-killing spending cuts. Specifically, Pence mocked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for citing the annual cowboy poetry festival in Nevada, which boosts economic activity in the state, as a lamentable casualty of the GOP plan. 

PENCE: I think Senator Harry Reid's comments show just how out of touch Senate Democrats are with the priorities of the American people. The American people know the federal government is going broke. And for Harry Reid to defend not only the cowboy poetry festival, but to say that finding 61 billion in savings this fiscal year is somehow reckless and irresponsible, it just shows the liberals here in Washington have a fundamental disconnect with what the overwhelming majority of people in this country know, and that is we've gotta start making the hard choices right now to put our fiscal house in order and House Republicans are ready to make that fight.


The most important takeaway here is that Pence is the one who's "out of touch." Just a few hours before Pence took his act to Fox News, Bloomberg issued a new poll showing that Americans overwhelmingly reject sweeping cuts of the variety Republicans are proposing. The majority also prioritize jobs over the deficit, which is a problem for Pence considering that economists agree that his party's plan would destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Moreover, while national Republicans are content to snicker at Reid's comments on cowboy poetry, the fact remains that it's part of Nevada's heritage. On March 2, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval formally proclaimed "Cowboy Poetry Week" from April 17-23, just as former Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons issued similar proclamations in years past. Sandoval's proclamation describes cowboy poetry as "a long cherished Nevada legacy" that has played an important role in "preserving our western heritage."

Of course, Pence doesn't care about public opinion or local tradition as long as his team wins. If the tables were turned, however, there's little doubt that Pence would be thumping his chest about east coast elitists who don't appreciate the culture of the heartland.